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tv   Book Discussion on Chasing the Last Laugh  CSPAN  July 10, 2016 6:54pm-7:01pm EDT

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it's a wonderful book and it's a must-read. is happy to sign, have another glass of wine and thanks for coming. >> thank you. [inaudible conversation] cspan, created by cable companies and brought you by your cable or light provide a. >> i will tell you about the mark twain that not everybody
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knows about. he was an eternal bad boy. he liked to drink, smoke and curse. he married an heiress who paid the bills but he love to gamble on pool and poker and unfortunately for him, on art of companies. eventually all these traits caught up with him. can you imagine being at age 60 and losing it all. he was dead broke in 1895. he had lost all his money and all his wife's money. i just can't imagine losing all my wife's money. it still terrifies me. there are things that she hasn't invented that would be used on me. after a while the family could no longer afford to live in their own beautiful home. how sad is that. they had a quirky wonderful house.
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he designed it himself, he had a fireplace built with a window over it so the smoke would go on either side and he could see snow falling. they had a crazy family life. they had three dogs and one was named i know and you know and don't know. he also enjoyed acting with his daughter susie. they were rich and had a tiffany drawing room. they had seven servants including a butler and coachman but it was never enough for twain. the poor missouri boy wanted everything. he wanted to be a funny writer but a literary author. he wanted to be a family man but he also wanted to be a poker playing rogue. he was so full of conflicting desires. he liked down-home folk and he
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also wanted to be rich as a rockefeller or vanderbilt. he wrote few of us can stand prosperity, another man's, i mean. he was a bang that for conmen. what a talker he is. he wrote of the inventor james w page. he could persuade a fish to come out and take a walk with him. twain was losing his shirt. he had a lethal combination for an investor. moonshot enthusiasm and no patience for details. he once asked an accountant to send him a profit loss statement that even his daughter could understand. jean was two years old at the time. twain thought the following invention would change the world you don't recognize it? this is the page typesetter. it weighed almost four times, 18000 movable parts and it was supposed to revolutionize printing, if it worked.
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he had had the misfortune of seeing it work once. at first he called james page this shakespeare of mechanical invention. at the end when it kept breaking down, he began fantasizing about capturing a certain part of mr. pages anatomy in the machine and watching him slowly bleed to death. his next investment was putting him into debt. they started off incredible well in a publishing company. they published grants memoirs and huckleberry finn with enormous success. he expected to pay himself that royalties but he ended up paying himself no royalties. this is their final list of titles. i don't of you can see there but any publisher that will go out with stories from the rabbi is
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probably going to be in a little trouble. headlines, it was deeply humiliating, headlines of the newspaper said mark twain failed. it was brutal. no joke. failure of mark twain. he's the literary superstar, deeply embarrassed and he gets to advisers for his bankruptcy. one is henry huddleston rogers, one of the wealthiest man in america and the right hand man to john d rockefeller, oil and steel, his nickname was hell hound. he wants to play hardball with the creditors per he wants to offer $.10 on the dollar. twain's other advisor is his wife libby. she has absolutely no business experience. she writes i want the creditor to know we have their interest at heart, much much more than our own. [laughter]
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libby, we have some bankruptcy experts in the crowd. libby wanted to pay them in full as soon as possible. a word of advice, never bet against the wife. twain agreed to pay everyone back in full so he needs to make big money fast. his books are not selling. his most recent title is the american claimant, not a huge seller. the quickest way for him to make money is to go out on a standup comedy tour. he absolutely, from the bottom of his heart, did, did not want to go. it's a little-known fact that he dreaded public speaking in front of large audiences but it wasn't so much stage fright as humiliation fright. he did not want to play the clown. he thought of himself as a literary author. he said to a friend once an audience sees you stand on your head they expect you to remain in that position forever. >> you can watch this and other


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